Nov 252014
 

Odds of my being able to hit my 80,000 words-for-NaNo target are diminishing rapidly, sadly, but the standard 50,000 word NaNo target remains well within reach. I hadn’t expected to lose as many days as I have to A) allergies prompting early bedtimes/late rises, B) Bruins games, C) holiday travel, and D) holidays generally, but lost them I have. Short of hitting a consistent word count well north of anything likely for the remainder of the month, 80k is out of reach. That said, I’m solidly in the swing of the story now, so there’s at least no reason that my current momentum should abate as November turns to December.

I have to wonder at the wisdom of placing NaNoWriMo in November. October culminates in Halloween, which makes much of the month costume project time (at least, for me!). November culminates in Thanksgiving in the U.S., forcing a choice between family time and writing time. December is much the same, but with your-winter-holiday-of-choice and New Year’s. September, on the other hand, is devoid of such obligations in its entirety. If I decide to do a month-long writing push again next year (as opposed to a much more sensible lots-of-writing-all-the-time-regardless-of-the-month approach), I think I’ll kick it up two months and do it in September.

Date Written NaNo Total Overall WC Notes
Sat, Nov. 1 0 0 19271 NaNo begins, but I don’t!
Sun, Nov. 2 2709 2709 21980
Mon, Nov. 3 2769 5478 18823 Notable removal of some stuff from the existing manuscript
Tue, Nov. 4 966 6444 19789
Wed, Nov. 5 3049 9493 16349 Another big chunk of existing text removed
Thu, Nov. 6 3441 12934 19790
Fri, Nov. 7 473 13407 20263 Beer o’clock on office Fridays doesn’t do good things for my word count
Sat, Nov. 8 2145 15552 22408
Sun, Nov. 9 0 15552 22408 “Write every day” is good advice. So is “don’t work every day.”
Mon, Nov. 10 1873 17425 24281
Tue, Nov. 11 729 18154 25010
Wed, Nov. 12 0 18154 25010 Crushing Bruins loss to the Maple Leafs.
Thu, Nov. 13 2133 20287 27143 Managed to write in the morning before work, but crushing and dispiriting Bruins loss to the Habs killed evening writing.
Fri, Nov. 14 0 20287 27143 Sick, but worked from home. Called it a night pretty early.
Sat, Nov. 15 0 20287 27143
Sun, Nov. 16 3400 23687 30543 That’s better.
Mon, Nov. 17 4666 28353 35209
Tue, Nov. 18 2416 30769 37625
Wed, Nov. 19 4021 34790 41646
Thu, Nov. 20 358 35148 42004 Four hours of work here, to boot.
Fri, Nov. 21 956 36104 42960 Allergies kicking in. Fell asleep on the train home (usually the more productive of my train rides). Epic Bruins game against the Caps, ending in a 7-round shootout.
Sat, Nov. 22 0 36104 42960 Packing, travel, Bruins loss to the Habs (again!). Literally no unallocated time.
Sun, Nov. 23 2180 38284 45140
Mon, Nov. 24 2054 40338 47194

Previous Writing in Public post here.

Nov 112014
 

Taking a page from Dean Wesley Smith‘s Writing in Public series, I’m going to start documenting my NaNoWriMo-driven push to finish the first draft of Alour-Tan II.

The typical NaNoWriMo goal is to write a short novel from scratch through the month of November, totaling at least 50,000 words by the end of the month. I’ve modified those parameters to better-suit what I need to do with this book. My goal is instead to write 80,000 new words (supplementing the 20,000ish I had already written for a total of ~100,000) over the course of the month, completing the first draft in the process. I don’t include the preexisting words in my NaNo total, as that would most definitely be against the “rules” of the “competition”.

Date Written NaNo Total Overall WC Notes
Sat, Nov. 1 0 0 19271 NaNo begins, but I don’t!
Sun, Nov. 2 2709 2709 21980
Mon, Nov. 3 2769 5478 18823 Notable removal of some stuff from the existing manuscript
Tue, Nov. 4 966 6444 19789
Wed, Nov. 5 3049 9493 16349 Another big chunk of existing text removed
Thu, Nov. 6 3441 12934 19790
Fri, Nov. 7 473 13407 20263 Beer o’clock on office Fridays doesn’t do good things for my word count
Sat, Nov. 8 2145 15552 22408
Sun, Nov. 9 0 15552 22408 “Write every day” is good advice. So is “don’t work every day.”
Mon, Nov. 10 1873 17425 24281
Tue, Nov. 11 729* 18154 25010 WC as of 0900 this morning; more planned for this evening.

Sliding timetable

 Posted by at 16:07  No Responses »
Feb 272013
 

February draws to a close and the New Book’s first draft remains incomplete. In fact, two of the three chapters for it that I managed to write are probably destined for the trash bin. I’ve decided to push my timeline by a month and a half, using that half-month to address the issue that caused the delay in the first place.

At the end of the year, I had finished primary worldbuilding for the New Book. I was (and am) delighted with the setting and look forward to telling its stories and sharing them with you. I set to the task of writing an outline for the first story, which is when things started to go off course. There is a central question that drives the stories of this setting, a central question that instilled the desire to develop the setting in the first place. The outline I created lost sight of this central question, with only superficial and tangential connection back to it.

Furthermore, one of the central conflicts in the story — between a POV character and another main character — had mutated to the point that it painted the POV character in a deplorable light. What had once made sense instead rendered the POV character foolish at best and demographically insulting at worst. The conflict itself also carried unfortunate implications.

So, I need to go back to the drawing board. The setting is still solid and I now have a cast of partial characters1 about whom I want to learn more. In order to do the concept, the characters, and the setting justice, though, the whole plot needs a ground-up rethinking. I need to write a story I can believe in, not just pump out a story that I’ll reflect on with distaste, so that you–the reader–have an enjoyable tale at the end of the process.

  1. Note that phrasing: a cast of partial characters, not a partial cast of characters. []

Goals for 2013

 Posted by at 12:39  No Responses »
Jan 142013
 

Rather than resolutions, which strike me as unrealistically rigid, I opted instead to set a few goals to strive for in 2013. Here’s that list, for those curious.

  • Write (at least) two books. This is the biggest and most ambitious of the goals. Seeing as how it took three years to get Ashes done, shooting for writing two books in a single year is an enormous leap. I set an aggressive timetable for the New Book and my success at adhering to that timetable will go a long way toward the success or failure of this goal.
  • Get to and stay at 170 pounds. Holiday fooding is not kind to one’s experiences with the scale. While I haven’t breached 190, I came damn close. My objective is to get to and stay at 170, which is slightly more lean than my exact “optimal” weight.
  • Do 20 consecutive pull-ups. I can currently do somewhere between six and ten, so I don’t anticipate this will actually take much doing.
  • Complete my Ambassador model and complete at least one more model. I’ve been working on the Ambassador model since August 2012, which has included a great deal of re-learning of skills that atrophied while not in use when working as a tech artist in the game industry. A lot of that time went into doing and re-doing the same thing over and over, which while frustrating also ended up informative. It’s my hope that, like writing Ashes, the stumbling blocks and pitfalls of this “first” experience will result in a substantially faster second one.
  • Learn to play (at least) two songs reasonably well on the guitar. I haven’t picked up my guitar in months and that’s a tragedy. Two songs strikes me as a small-scope, attainable goal.

These are my personal goals, as opposed to larger goals that involve other people/family things. I think they’re all attainable, so long as I keep my eye on the ball.

What do you think? What are your goals?

Nov 262012
 

I just got the notification that Ashes is now available for download on Amazon!

The physical CreateSpace copies are still being processed, but I expect they’ll be available within the next few days.

In related news, I also posted announcements about the book’s release to the two CG forums I visit, Foundation 3D and SciFi-Meshes, as well as tweeted Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, and The Morning Stream in the hopes that it might catch their eyes and prompt further spreading of the message. Odds are pretty slim, but doesn’t hurt to try!

Counting down

 Posted by at 11:42  No Responses »
Oct 152012
 

We are now halfway through October. The day after Halloween, I begin the final draft of the book, with an eye to publishing by Thanksgiving. My book will be in the wild, available for purchase during the holidays. I am excited and terrified by this.

I’m looking forward to my beta readers’ feedback. I don’t entirely know what to expect. I’ve received some really heartwarming praise and some curiously intimidating intimations about criticism yet-to-come, which I suppose spans an appropriately wide gamut.

Meanwhile, I’m knee-deep in worldbuilding my next book. Rather than the second book in the fantasy trilogy, this will be the start of a science fiction series. I’m having a great deal of fun with the worldbuilding, which I take as a good sign for my level of engagement with the story-to-be. If nothing else, I’m two for two on crafting worlds that I’m excited about. Whether or not the world at large feels the same remains to be seen, but if I’m not writing something I’m excited about, no reader is going to enjoy it.

Once the fantasy book is in the wild, I’m going to dive head-long into the writing of the sci-fi book. The goal, other than writing and publishing another book, is to take everything I learned writing the first book and use it to write this book faster. The goal, ultimately, is to be able to publish 4-5 good titles each year, representing a release cycle of three months or less. We’ll see if I can hit that or not. At the very least, spending the time on a solid outline should preclude the need to do a “second” draft akin to the fantasy book’s second draft, which was really a complete overhaul of the seat-of-the-pants NaNoWriMo story. Outlines are our friends.

I’m toying with the idea of releasing at least the first chapter of the book for free, right here, once the final draft is done. I’ll be making a great deal of noise on Facebook and Twitter, too, which I’m sure will be a joy to all the people who follow me. I apologize in advance and hope that you will endure the shameless self-promotion. Hell, I hope you’ll help spread the word!